MONTCLAIR, NJ — The Montclair Public Library Foundation has received a $10,000 grant from Investors Foundation to support the Montclair Public Library’s flagship author conversation series, Open Book / Open Mind. This marks the sixth consecutive year that Investors Foundation has supported this popular literary program.
Started in 2015 by community members David Jones and Jennifer Dorr, Open Book / Open Mind features bestselling and prize-winning authors discussing their new books, both fiction and nonfiction, which often delve into the important issues of our time. Recognizing that Montclair is a vibrant cultural hub that is home to journalists, publishers, and writers, Open Book / Open Mind seeks to deepen the public’s understanding of issues like civil rights, economic justice, the environment, and education; highlight great novelists; and provide a cultural home for the Montclair literary community. Six of last year’s offerings were New York Times bestsellers, and Open Book / Open Mind guests are regularly featured in the “most notable books” lists of The New York Times and The Washington Post.
“We thank Investors Bank for this generous donation, which is but the latest demonstration of its support since the early days of our popular Open Book / Open Mind author series,” says David Jones, co-founder and co-chair of the series. “Investors’s backing has provided an important public service to our community, helping us to continue to bring outstanding authors to Montclair and beyond.”
With the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, the series quickly pivoted to a webcast format and has expanded its audience far beyond the physical capacity or geographic bounds of the Library’s auditorium. As a webcast, Open Book / Open Mind has drawn up to 750 attendees from 35 states outside New Jersey as well as Canada, the Caribbean, Europe, Thailand, and New Zealand. Recently, the program on January 13, 2022 featured Khalil Gibran Muhammad and Jake Silverstein, two major contributors to “The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story.” Their discussion of this landmark reframing of American history, a #1 New York Times bestseller, drew an audience of almost 500.
Other authors in the winter/spring 2022 series include New York Times correspondent Jeremy W. Peters, New Yorker staff writer Patrick Radden Keefe, Michelle Zauner who is also known as the musician Japanese Breakfast, and New York Times bestselling novelist Katherine Heiny. Visit montclairlibrary.org/obom for more information about Open Book / Open Mind.